Twitch's Chase Shares His Top 5 Games Of 2015

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Chase is a video game industry PR veteran who has been promoting software and hardware as far back as SEGA Dreamcast and over a hundred games since then, including Bioshock, Bayonetta, Disney Epic Mickey and The Last of Us. Last year, he left Access Communications, his former agency of 14 years, where he worked on the launch of Twitch to go in-house as the live streaming platform’s Director of PR. Before his PR days, he was a freelance games journalist, so we invited him to pick up his virtual pen again.Here are Chase's favorite games of 2015:
There were so many great games this year, especially on the AAA front, that I’m going to bookend this with some obvious choices but focus on some smaller games too.

Below's Nathan Vella Shares His Top 10 Games Of 2015

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On the lead up to Game Informer's Game of the Year awards of 2015, we've invited a number of the video game industry's influential figures to share their favorite games of the year.

Nathan Vella is the co-founder and president of Capybara Games, the indie house behind Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery, Super Time Force, Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, and Critter Crunch. Capybara's next game is Below, slated to release in 2016 for Xbox One and PC.

Here's Vella with his picks for the year in no particular order:

Why We Love Fallout 4's Nick Valentine

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Why We Love Fallout 4's Nick Valentine

The drab wastelands of the Fallout games are filled with surprises. Sometimes the unexpected involves raider attacks, vaults that reveal the experimental origins of Super Mutants, or an unforgettable character. Fallout 4's Nick Valentine falls into the latter category, and several of us Vault Dwellers at the Game Informer office just can't get the debonair detective from Diamond City off our minds. These are the reasons we adore Nick Valentine, private eye.

A warning to fledgling Fallout 4 players: This post contains spoilers pertaining to Nick Valentine. If you want to discover the awesome detective on your own, go seek him out in Diamond City.

Personification Of Human/Synth UneaseThe Institute is a huge focus in Fallout 4 - a mysterious organization that's the point of origin for robotic killer Synths. At their worst, these androids convincingly disguise themselves as human and lay waste to settlements, a la the Replicants of Blade Runner. Nick Valentine is an early model Synth with no evil intentions toward the human race. Part of his story, which the detective reveals as players earn his trust, involves his struggle to earn the trust of Diamond City, the walled village built within a baseball diamond. Getting to know Nick is the same as getting to know a well-meaning synthetic human's struggle against human prejudice.

Quiplash's Arnie Niekamp Shares His Top Games of 2015

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On the lead up to Game Informer's Game of the Year awards of 2015, we've invited a number of the video game industry's influential figures to share their favorite games of the year.

Arnie Niekamp is a director at Jackbox Games, the developer responsible for the immensely enjoyable Jackbox Party Packs. Niekamp is a writer on both Quiplash and Drawful, games included in those packs. 

Here's Niekamp with his picks for the year in no particular order:

Opinion – Episodic Gaming Needs To Change

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Episodic video games took a long time to catch on. Developers had been experimenting with the concept for decades, but the advent of digital distribution made it possible for the format to truly take root. We saw the early experiments of episodic pioneers in 2005 and 2006, like Telltale’s Bone and Sam & Max series and Valve’s Half-Life 2 episodes. In the 10 years since, episodic gaming has taken off, but the industry’s current approach to this structure is doing more harm than good.

To be clear, the content of the games isn’t the problem; I love how many of these titles are experimenting with narrative and choice. The real damage is being done by inconsistent and uncommunicated release schedules, making it difficult for these unique and innovative games to put their best attributes forward.

You may point to popular series like The Walking Dead and Tales from the Borderlands and say, “Those are doing well, so everything is fine!” However, just because some high-profile episodic series have done well doesn’t mean that copying their release formula is the only (or best) way for similar games to succeed.

Edge Of Nowhere's Brian Allgeier Shares His Top Games Of 2015

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On the lead up to Game Informer's Game of the Year awards of 2015, we've invited a number of the video game industry's influential figures to share their favorite games of the year.

After making Hanna Barbera's Cartoon Carnival for Phillips CD-i, Brian Allgeier went on to work on some of the biggest titles for PlayStation 2, most notably as the creative director of Insomniac Games' Ratchet & Clank series. He also was the creative director of Insomniac's co-op shooter, Fuse. He is now working on Edge of Nowhere, an exclusive VR title for Oculus Rift.

5 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Fallout 4 (And 5 You Shouldn't)

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Video games are often viewed as a fun but ultimately trivial use of one's time. However, just like other forms of fictional entertainment, games can teach us important lessons that apply to the real world as well. Although you (hopefully) won't find yourself scavenging your way through a post-apocalyptic hellscape anytime soon, here are some helpful life lessons you can learn from playing Fallout 4...and a few you probably shouldn't.

Lesson #1: Don't Judge People By Their AppearancesWe've all made assumptions about people based on how they look, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. After all, sometimes a super mutant turns out to be a pretty cool guy. Like in the real world, characters in Fallout 4 frequently have more going on with them than it would appear at first glance. That might not be enough to prevent you from headshotting a raider a thousand yards out the moment you spot him, but it's a good reminder to occasionally check your preconceived notions – especially since there's a very good chance that you look like a horrendously dressed idiot yourself.

Chris Avellone Talks Games, Obsidian, And Christmas Sweater Etiquette

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Chris Avellone is known across the industry for his visionary work on PC role-playing games while at companies like Interplay and Obsidian. His resume includes impressive titles like Icewind Dale, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, Neverwinter Nights 2, Fallout II, and Pillars of Eternity. Avellone has recently gone rogue, leaving Obsidian to take on new adventures with Divinity: Original Sin II.

The PC RPG scene is coming back in a big way – do you have any insight on why this is happening now after years of decline? Is crowdfunding responsible for the resurgence?

Partly. It felt like there was a perception that some PC games simply weren't... well... worth publishing, and if so, only as a SKU of a primarily console title. Even if not expensive, it wasn't worth a larger publisher's time to bring them to market because many small games versus a few larger games is a bit easier for a publisher to wrap their head around, especially from the ROI angle. Plus, having a few larger games ends up being less distracting. If I was to make a poor example of why, it's like having to count a hundred pennies vs. counting four quarters. They might be the same value in the end, but the larger titles "chunk" together easier without needing to expand your QA and marketing teams to deal with all the noise.